Small- and medium-enterprises, SMEs, in Singapore now have access to new, alternative avenues to funding, following the opening of a Singapore office by Bibby Financial Services, BFS,—an international SME funding specialist. It is wholly owned by Bibby Line Group, a 204-year old group of companies with interests in shipping, logistics, financial services, offshore services, and retail.
With its headquarters in the United Kingdom, Bibby Financial Services has 47 locations spanning 15 countries worldwide, and had a factoring volume of £7 billion in 2011 to over 6,100 clients. The Singapore office will focus on SMEs. According to the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board, Spring Singapore, SMEs contribute over 50 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employ seven out of every 10 workers.
Ian Watson, regional chief executive of BFS Asia-Pacific, says: “Singapore is a key hub in international trade with total volume of exports valued at US$351.2 billion. The opening of the BFS office in Singapore is timely as it is in line with our expansion plans. It will focus on delivering a full range of international trade products to our clients worldwide”.
According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, it is estimated that there are 420 to 510 million SMEs worldwide, which have an unmet need of nearly US$4 trillion in funding. BFS Singapore will be able to address the unmet funding needs of local SMEs. With a deep understanding of their trade and billing cycles, BFS Singapore will be able to offer personalised and customised invoice financing solutions.
Lee Kheng Leong, managing director of BFS Singapore, says: “The SME’s contribution to the Singapore economy is important. At present, there is a lack of international specialist factoring companies in Singapore following the sale of GE factoring business in Singapore in 2010. Our presence in Singapore will help SMEs to grow as we have an international footprint and specialist skills to cater to their needs”.
Watson adds: “Our overarching goal is to support the funding requirements of a greater number of SMEs across the globe and this latest venture will ensure we continue to develop our flexible trade finance packages.”
BFS recorded year-on-year growth of 17 per cent in 2011, as its profits rose from £34 million in 2010 to a record £41.2 million last year.
Copyright © 2013 Singapore Institute of Management